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Source: Amnesty International –

In the year since the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights gave fresh impetus to the global campaign for the abolition of the death penalty by declaring the mandatory death penalty “unfair” and a “failure in due process”, at least four countries – Botswana, Egypt, Somalia and South Sudan –  have carried out executions, Amnesty International said today.

On 28 November 2019, the African Human Rights Court ruled in a landmark judgement that mandatory imposition of the death penalty was patently unfair, because it denied the convicted person the right to be heard and present mitigating circumstances. In considering the case, brought by Tanzanian death row convict Ally Rajabu against the Government of Tanzania, the court further ruled that the mandatory death sentence fails to follow due process and breaches fair trial standards, by hindering courts from determining proportionate punishment for the facts of the alleged crimes.

The African Human Rights Court broke new ground in highlighting the inherent unfairness of sentencing people to death without granting them the most basic requirement of a fair trial.